Local Rivers Fishing
If you want to chase Steelhead then Vancouver Washington continues to be one of your best choices in the Pacific North West for it. Here at Wiseguides: All we do is Steelhead. Within 45 minutes we can fish six different local rivers and in an hour and a half we have access to fisheries on the east side of the Cascades and the North Oregon Coast. Forks Washington on the Olympic Peninsula is 4 hours away. Because of the large number of rivers we have access to there is always a run happening somewhere.
Located 40 minutes north of Vancouver along I-5 the Kalama is a small tributary of the Columbia river and is only 60 miles from the salt. It’s an intimate river that still has a decent run of fish. These are mostly hatchery stock steelhead but they still can be brutes. We’ll see houses on the float and we won’t have the river to ourselves but it’s fun and close to town. The trip starts at the Red Barn and ends at Modrow bridge. The float is about 7 miles long.
This is another river close to town that can still get some good numbers of fish returning. The Lewis river is only about 25 minutes north of Vancouver right off of I-5. I like to start just below Merwin dam and drift down to the first hatchery or make it a longer day and continue on down stream to the Lewis river golf course. The Lewis can get a fair bit of jet boat traffic when the fish are in but up river from the first hatchery is usually free and clear. One of the best steelhead holes on the river is in this upper stretch.
East Fork Lewis
The East Fork is the closest river in the area and can be reached in about 15 minutes. Access to the river is at Lewisville Regional Park just north of Battle Ground. The drift starts with some nice buckets and a few swing runs. Once out of the park the gradient decreases and the river meanders through farm land. The upper farm land section has some nice swings and good pocket water for drifting a bobber and bead. The East Fork Lewis no longer has a hatchery program. They are all wild fish here.
There are two drifts we do on the Sandy. The section from Oxbow Regional Park to Dabney and the section from Dodge Park to Oxbow. The upper drift has a few fun rapids but swing water is limited. The lower run from Oxbow to Dabney is mainly within the boundaries of the park. This means we will see park visitors but the fishing can be really good. The Sandy is glacially fed river that can be very weather dependent. Freezing levels need to be around 3000′ or lower for the river to fish well.